Vote for Democrats, Canvass for Democrats, Raise money for Democrats, Drive someone to a polling place to vote for Democrats

From the wise words of Thomas Friedman from his opinion piece (George Washington for President) in Today’s NY Times (2018, Oct. 31):

“In the Midterm Elections, Vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone to a voting station to vote for a Democrat.  I repeat: In the Midterm Elections, Vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone to a voting station to vote for a Democrat.  I repeat: In the Midterm Elections, Vote for a Democrat, canvass for a Democrat, raise money for a Democrat, drive someone to a voting station to vote for a Democrat.”

“We have to protect our institutions until the Trump Era passes and we can restore the presidency to someone –Republican or Democrat– focused on loving our country more than hating others.”   

In a Red State, we can still influence politics

Hersh, E. (2018, Oct. 30).  In a Deep Blue or Red State? You Can Still Influence Politics.  The New York Times.

An organizer’s handbook:

  • Organize your precinct, your neighborhood, or even the street you live on.  Every precinct is competitive and worth organizing! If Democrats in Massachusetts were better organized they could have defeated Scott Brown.
  • Fighting for local issues like stopping a Walmart Marketplace from taking over a park and greenway will always be needed and having an organized precinct can help with battles like those.

How to Organize a Precinct:

  • Get a list of voters in your precinct from the local election office
  • Find a couple of people on that list to join your committee
  • Start talking to neighbors and find out what issues concern them the most
  • While you meet your neighbors, you may come across someone who needs help and you know just the way to help that person (accessing meals on wheels or getting information about the senior center, or joining a fitness group).

We participate in politics to help others.  We help one another by getting power to advance public policy that serves the common interest.  

 

What if Everyone Voted?

Badger, E. (2018, Oct. 30). What if Everyone Voted? The New York Times

What if everyone voted?  We would have more of a democracy instead of one-party rule. We would no longer have red or blue states, our states would be purple because everyone is engaged.  Politicians would have to persuade voters from both sides of the aisle and we would have less ideological discussions and more discussions about real issues that affect our lives everyday.

This is article is about ways blue states have increased voter registration efforts while red states have made it more difficult to vote.  We know that in some states a person can register to vote right before they cast a ballot and in other states like Tennessee, the day to register has long passed.

“If everyone voted, Clinton would be President right now.”  

Mitch McConnell calls non-voters “political couch-potatoes,” and therefore he does not try to earn their support.  Young people still are not voting at levels we need them to vote and many politicians will not try to cater to their needs since they do not vote.  Young people may not even know what they want to vote for or what issues are on the top for them.  We need to keep trying to reach every voter and give every voter a reason to vote.

Protecting our vulnerable from and Impulse

I wrote about a young woman who tried to commit suicide by shooting herself in the face.  She survived and received a face transplant.  When she decided to reach for a gun and end her life, it was a moment, an impulse.  She did not have suicidal thoughts before that time.  I always think about her when I think about a moment in time, an impulse.  Now, I keep this in mind when I think of others who have been affected by gun violence.  Here is the title of an article I read this morning:

Zaveri, M. (2018, Oct. 13).  Man Who Fired at Black Teenager Asking for Directions is Convicted.  The New York Times.

Here are some excerpts from the article that again make me think that we need to protect ALL our vulnerable from our impulses, our moments in time:

  • “He certainly wishes it didn’t happen,” Mr. Morad said on Saturday. “He wishes he didn’t go outside that day.”
  • the April encounter happened so quickly that Mr. Zeigler did not have time to consider the boy’s race. “He just reacted and that was that,” Mr. Morad said.
  • “She didn’t really give me a chance to speak a lot, and I was trying to tell her that I go to Rochester High and I was looking for directions,” Brennan said. “A few moments later the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the shotgun.”
  • Mr. Morad said that Mr. Zeigler was in a deep sleep that morning. He said that after Brennan rang the doorbell, Mr. Zeigler’s wife answered the door.
  • Mr. Zeigler told Brennan to get off his property, and told his wife to call the police before going into a nearby room, grabbing the shotgun and returning, Mr. Morad said. That’s when Brennan fled.

Mr. Zeigler was asleep and reacted to someone at his door by firing a weapon at him.  After I wake up from a deep sleep, I am often groggy and do not know what is going on for a few minutes.  We need to be protected from our own impulses when we are not fully aware and we need to protect others from moments, impulses.  We need more safety mechanisms on guns so it takes more than pulling a gun off a shelf and pulling a trigger.  We need to know the person firing the weapon is completely aware of their environment.  Locking mechanisms, biometrics, storage units that require a couple of minutes of thought to open would be helpful.

Once again, Make America Safe Again.  Protect ALL our Vulnerable from Gun Violence.  We should be able to knock on a door without getting shot at.

Perspectives on Gifted Education

This spring in Knox County Schools our school board almost voted to gut our Gifted and Talented program.  The community rose up in opposition and part of the program was saved.  We are in need of a more robust GT program in our schools.  I have thought about creating a GT Foundation so we can provide the necessary funding to have a better program.  Here are some other thoughts from the following article:

Goldstein, D. (2018, Sept. 15). Rethinking What Gifted Education Means, and Whom It Should Serve.  The New York Times.

The article was mainly about addressing higher-level learning needs in less affluent schools in Maryland.  Essentially they are making gifted learning available to underachieving gifted students that wouldn’t otherwise be found or thought of as a gifted student.  I am sure we have underserved GT students right here in our school system either by not fully funding the program or by not reaching out and finding all the students who could possibly qualify.  We could take some pointers from this school system in Maryland.

Montgomery county has GT schools which we only have one in Knox County.  Students who qualify for these schools are considered outliers in their neighborhood schools with fewer than 20 peers with similar abilities.

The term highly gifted was changed to Enriched Studies because they wanted to label the program, not the students.  I think that is fair because a gifted education is an enrichment and many students in a variety of backgrounds receive enriched services throughout the school day.

Some titles that I found interesting were: “Chair of the Gifted Child Committee on the PTA” and the “President of the Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County.”  In Knox County we need to work towards having positions, titles, and organizations such as these.  These organizations can help parents give their children a voice and ensure quality programming throughout their school years.